Chelsea Stieber, "Haiti's Paper War: Post-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804-1954" (NYU Press, 2020)

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Picking up where most historians conclude, Chelsea Stieber explores the critical internal challenge to Haiti’s post-independence sovereignty: a civil war between monarchy and republic. What transpired was a war of swords and of pens, waged in newspapers and periodicals, in literature, broadsheets, and fliers.

In Haiti's Paper War: Post-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804-1954 (NYU Press, 2020) — her analysis of Haitian writing that followed independence — Stieber composes a new literary history of Haiti, that challenges our interpretations of both freedom struggles and the postcolonial. By examining internal dissent during the revolution, Stieber reveals that the very concept of freedom was itself hotly contested in the public sphere, and it was this inherent tension that became the central battleground for the guerre de plume — the paper war — that vied to shape public sentiment and the very idea of Haiti.

Alejandra Bronfman is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies at SUNY, Albany.

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